I guess I have always been somewhat possessive of my "things". Don't get me wrong, I'm a sharer--and I would like to think that I am selfless and giving. I try to encourage my children to be generous. My husband and I are naturally givers. I do feel though that when I am really invested in something, I take full ownership. You know the old saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself"? Well, I guess I take that to heart. Probably a little too much. Ironically, I often feel as though there is very little that I DO get done right, even when I do it myself.
When it comes to raising my children I am certain that I am doing them an incredible disservice some days. I know the line about a village raising a child. I agree with the concept. I love that there are people in our community that will impact my children's lives for the good and teach them lessons that I never could. When it comes to watching my children though, I feel guilty at the thought of asking someone else for help. I am not the mom that would EVER in a million years get a sitter so I could go shopping or do something that was optional. Heck, I took my 3 year old daughter to every single one of my OB/GYN appointments when I was pregnant with my third child. She was playing with her stuffed animals behind the examining table while my feet were in the stirrups.
I have seen mothers that call for a babysitter on a whim so they can go tanning or take a bubble bath. They ask a trusted neighbor, a relative or a friend to watch their child/children so they can shop for groceries. The concept of leaving my children with someone else is just absolutely foreign to me. There was a brief period of time that it was necessary for me to go back to work in between having my 2nd and 3rd daughters and they did spend a considerable amount of time with a daycare provider. My four children are not ALL with me ALL day long; my two oldest children ride the bus to school and are away from me for 7 1/2 hours 5 days a week. Homeschoolers aside, that's a pretty mainstream norm though. My kids don't go on playdates without me. And I don't go on playdates without them.
Before my husband and I got married we never went on a single date. We were in a long distance relationship and had ***very*** little face time before the big day. After the wedding bells rang we were just too poor to go on dates. I joke around now that we have too many kids to go on dates. Part of me feels irresponsible for dumping my kids with a sitter just so I can go "have fun". Part of me feels guilty asking someone to watch my FOUR kids. This is probably why I can count the number of "dates" my husband and I have gone on in the past 9 years on one hand.
Truth be told, I suspect the reason I don't want to ask anyone to watch my kids isn't because I think they are a nuisance or terribly misbehaved. I think that if I could be honest with myself, I would admit that I feel like I am the nuisance. I tell myself that I am just being a responsible mother. I reason that a mom who can leave her child with anyone without a real reason for needing a sitter is lazy. Irresponsible. Immature. Selfish.
I guess before I sat down to write this post I wanted to give a broad vision of the homemaker that stays home with her children and contrast that to the mom who spends more time away from her children, by choice, than she spends with her children. I wanted to say I'm tired of seeing moms that can leave their babies with just about anyone for just about any reason. I was willing to admit that I should go out with my husband every now and again. That maybe Ladies' Night Out wasn't so bad after all. I might have even found my ever elusive "Middle of the Road" (which, I was fairly certain, was most likely much closer to my side of the highway than hers) in this navigable journey through motherhood.
I didn't stop to think that maybe I'm judging harshly, in part, because I might be jealous. Is there really something wrong after all with a stay at home mom who gets a sitter a few times a week so she can go to lunch with friends or shop till she drops or snag a hot date with her hubby? Probably not. Is there something wrong with a mom who grabs a sitter at every possible opportunity because she can't stand being around her own children? Possibly. Is there something wrong with a stay at home mom who won't ask ANYONE for help because she's embarrassed, afraid or, dare I say, ashamed to admit that she can't do it all on her own? Probably.
I guess what I am saying, if anyone is out there listening, is that I need help. I'm not supermom. In fact, I'm so far from it that I'm not sure I would recognize competence in myself if I ever achieved it. I'm tired of trying to be great at everything that my family needs and instead disappointing them with only being able to be mediocre at a bunch of... well, stuff. I tired of feeling guilty. I'm tired of smiling at other women as they make lunch dates with each other while inwardly cringing at the thought of them having a good time while their child is at home needing their mother more than their babysitter, their grandmother, or even their own father. I'm tired of longing for life to be different, to feel full. I am tired of being tired. I want to try to be selfish. I want to be better. I want to feel happier--and not just for my children to see a happier mom, but for me to actually BE happy FOR ME.
My husband asked me the other day if he will ever see the "old" me again. I'd like to think that maybe there's a chance that the world can see a new me.
Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Shortbread
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